Le Pen Ordered Into Psychiatric Evaluation For Tweets In France

libertyFar right political leader, Marine Le Pen, has been ordered into psychiatric evaluations after she posted graphic images of bodies of people executed by the Islamic State.  She was accused under the French laws criminalization different forms of speech — laws that I have long criticized as part of a European rollback on core free speech rights.  Posting the pictures was charged as circulating “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and that can be viewed by a minor.

The posting by Le Pen occurred after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 killing 130 people. The images included the decapitated body of US journalist James Foley, which Le Pen deleted at the request of the family.  She wrote a caption reading “Daesh is this!” That seems core political speech, but in France even offensive or insulting speech can be a crime.

Le Pen will now be required to prove that she “is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions.”  Le Pen has responded with outrage over the demeaning evaluation, which is automatic with this type of charge.

There are plenty of good-faith reasons to disagree with the views of Le Pen and the tweeting of images of this kind.  However, this is also part of an alarming assault on free speech in Europe and the addition of a mandatory psychiatric evaluation raises analogies to authoritarian countries like China.  We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

The order was issued by the district court in Nanterre on September 11th.
Once again, none of this goes to the merits of Le Pen’s views or postings.  Rather France is quickly becoming one of the most speech-intolerant countries in the world. we do not need free speech to protect popular speech.  It is there for the unpopular views of minority viewpoints.  We tolerate such speech to avoid the very slippery slope that France is careening down in these endless prosecutions of speech.

164 thoughts on “Le Pen Ordered Into Psychiatric Evaluation For Tweets In France”

  1. Allan, I grow tired of repeating what I have written several times on this thread. Once more, the judge ruled that Mme. Le Pen did not understand the questions put to her and so ordered a mental examination. Every judge in the USA does the same in similar circumstances.

    And given just the BBC report, I too question her mental health, although that is hardly relevant.

    Now I may have stated this better in other comments and replys below, so kindly read each and every one. Thank you.

    1. David, you can repeat yourself all you want. Your words exist but you don’t understand the content of your words. You can justify almost anything and even make poor comparisons but that doesn’t change the fact that the government of France committed an act of politcal interference with free speech according to their laws.

      1. If you incite to riot you will find that the state will interfere with your “free speech” by a stay in the clink. Roughly, that is what Mme. Le Pen was accused of.

        1. I now understand, don’t scream help when being attacked because the attackers might get insulted and riot. How stupid can anyone get?

    2. “I too question her mental health.”

      You would fit in well with Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. I question your mental health and IQ.

  2. Mr Kurtz — The judge might be corrupt or something but assuming that he is competent, Mme. Le Pen is accused of breaking a law that is supposed to protect minors. The judge was forced to order her mental examination.

    Personally, I suspect that she posted some of the ugliest, most vile of the faked anti-Daesh pix, easily constructed to fool the naive, like Squeeky here. I’m not defending the Daesh, i.e., ISIL or ISIS. What they do is horrid and repudiated by all followers of Islam. Well, maybe this paragraph is an irrelevancy.

    But, for you, is a law intended to protect minors wrong?

    1. It’s up to the parents to decide what their kids can watch on the Internet or t.v., not the government. You can’t take away my right to read or view what I choose to, because someone else isn’t willing to supervise his/her own child. All of these devices have “parental controls” where a parent can set the content at the appropriate age level. Or better yet, turn-off all the electronics and give your kid a book to read!

      1. I certainly applaud the last sentence!

        However, and for whatever reason, that’s not how it works in France. The French don’t have an absolute right to “free speech”.

        You don’t either, most likely. Inciting to riot lands you a jail sentence everywhere in the USA, as far as I know.

      2. i’m in favor of a regime limiting minors from accessing obscene pornography such as been implemented in England.

        this was clearly political speech however and not obscenity

    2. the laws protecting minors from what? the truth about the horrors of Muslim extremists?

      link the statute, you’re the advocate for the French state today, not me

    3. “Personally, I suspect that she posted some of the ugliest, most vile of the faked anti-Daesh pix, easily constructed to fool the naive…”

      No faking is required when it comes to ISIS. What on earth are you talking about?

      1. The pix I have seen of Daesh vileness were clearly Photoshopped constructs.

        That is not a defense of the Daesh, who need to be eradicated.

        1. I prefer “ISIS”…it’s short for “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.” It makes it clear what we are fighting against: Islamic extremism.

          The inhuman acts of ISIS do not need to be faked…ever. The real thing is for more horrifying. What’s the point of even talking about faked ISIS videos when there is a huge amount of the real thing available? Please explain.

            1. David, Ivan is just calling you out on the junk you have been writing. There are sites on the net that will show the videos of ISIS children cutting off a living human head while the person is alivIe or do you prefer watching a Jordanian pilot caged and then burned to death alive.

  3. I guess I need to point out that at least in Washington state if a defendant does not appear to be mentally competent to stand trial the judge orders a mental health professional to determine the defendant’s mental competence. Orders, not requests.

    From the BBC report, it appears that the judge questioned whether Mme. Le Pen understood the questions be put to her, hence the required examination.

    Those who have studied the law can put me to rights, especially those who actually understand French law. All I know about it is that it decends from Napoleonic Code.

    1. of course judges can order competency evaluations worldwide regardless of system just as they all have certain powers of contempt to order arrests…. to varying degrees

      the question here is not really her competency. it is her viewpoints. just admit it.

      you said she is a fascist and the French state fears her just as they feared her father

      just say it: the French state is afraid natives, the true French, will rise up and expel the million or so Muslims that the state has imposed on France.


      Unless they do, one day and not long off, it will be majority Muslim under existing demographic trends


      Many Muslims are fine decent folks, in France, and around the world. But many are not. the religion itself is problematic in some regards. why can’t anyone speak freely about it in France? because the state does not allow.

      The Muslims have plenty of their own countries; how about France be allowed to retain its own historical cultural and social character?

      1. The judge ruled that Mme. Le Pen did not appear to understand the questions put to her.

        The rest of your comment is irrelevant.

      2. It’s not that simple. The French state didn’t impose most of those Muslims on the French. It imposed French citizenship on the ancestors of most of those Muslims – les Beurs, the French whose ancestors are from Algiers, which wasn’t just a French colony, but a full département of metropolitan France, just as Pas-de-Calais. Deux Sèvres, and even Paris itself are. They are Frenchmen, even though they may follow Islam as their parents, grandparents,etc., have.

        Previous French governments have had a sorry history of looking the other way when police abused les Beurs, which extended in thankfully isolated cases to dozens of men in some Paris neighborhoods being gunned down. So there is a real desire on the government’s part not to see the sentiment behind those atrocities flourish today. “Inciting to riot” may not be that far from the intent of that judge.

        But he’s being short-sighted if he thinks Marine LePen’s acts are evidence of mental illness. They’re not even that far away from the mainstream of French politics.

        Le Pen herself ejected her extremist father Jean LePen from their party, and renamed it from Front National to Rassemblement National to distance herself and her party from Jean LePen’s blood-and-iron neofascism.

        Maine LePen, at least publicly, is not far from Nicolas Sarkozy, who spoke of “sweeping the streets of Paris clean” of crime mostly associated with Muslim youth gangs. Pushing a false narrative, as she appears to be doing (tacitly equating the acts of French Muslims with the acts of ISIS) isn’t mental illness.

        There’s room for a badly-needed public debate over the justice of that narrative, but throwing people in jail or psychiatric confinement for saying bad things will only defer that debate – and possibly assure that when it happens, that will be in the streets, with violence.

      1. FishWings — I recommend clinical psychologists rather than psychiatrists, who are medical doctors. Ordinarily the M.D. only matters if there are actual medical disorders.

        But yes, for anybody whose life appears to be falling apart or becoming to rigid, a few visits to a mental health professional might well set it straight. Similar to visiting the doctor if unwell.

        1. And only those clinical psychologists who, like expert witness Barbara Kirwin, insist on basing their diagnoses on standardized tests. You can compare those results to rest results from “normals” and report (to, say, a court) how a specific patient differs from the legal standard of a ‘reasonable man’. You can’t do that with the hand-waving some clinical psychologists or psychiatrists indulge in. They slap ICD codes on pure conjecture in all too many cases.

          1. Thank you again, Jean Lafitte, but I doubt the veracity of your last two sentences. Around here, at least, clinical psychologists are well trained.

    2. Code Napoleon is indeed different from Anglo-American law. The judge in a French court is empowered to order such examinations and more besides in the interests of justice – and has wider-ranging powers than an Anglo-American judge usually does.

      A French judge, in effect, isn’t restricted to considering the merits of arguments raised by the opposing sides in a case, but may actively pursue questions not raised by either counsel. That also gives the judge in such a case the right to order psychiatric evaluation of a defendant – even if this is not requested by either counsel.

        1. Thank Jonathan Turley, who reminded us of the differences between British and American judges in his column “Four Yutes and Counting”. The issue there is in how judges in most of Europe differ in their role in a trial from American judges, whose scope is relatively constrained. I erred by distinguishing French judges from “Anglo-American” judges, it would have been a stronger and more factual statement to just say “American judges”.

    3. Any government servant can say one is psychologically unfit whether true or not. That was a hallmark of the Statlin administration.

      I have held off saying it but you sound like a Stalinist and one that has little understanding of what he says.

  4. According to the BBC report about this, such examinations are routinely ordered in such cases. Jonathan Turley should have learned something about French law practice before spouting off.

    1. Great. You are now advising JT consult British media to understand French law when his post is about freedom of speech. What media company would you recommend JT consult before spouting off about Pakistani law and honor killings? CBC?

      1. Nope. If Jonathan Turley wants to comment about “free speech” in France he ought to learn enough French law not to just babble on about some abstract “free speech”.

        1. oh abstractions are printed on the Palace of Justice there big ones about equality and such.

          As I explained last week. there are principles like the declaration of independence, and then there are laws

          You are like the people who didn’t understand my comments last week about he Dec of Indep. It enunciates principles not laws.

          Here the question is not about laws it is about principles, that is to say, It is not about the petty legalities of court ordered exams it is about the justice of such things.

          And they may be lawful, that is not the point; we do not much care. The point is they are unjust, and clearly unjust as applied to Marine Le Pen

          learn to read

          1. From the BBC report, the judge ruled that Mme. Le Pen did not appear to understand the questions put to her and so ordered the mental examination.

            Similar to what happens to defendants in Washington state and I suppose in the other 49 states plus dependencies.

            I believe that the process is supposed to serve the interests of justice.

            1. Marine Le Pen is a very well known figure and plenty stable.

              This is strictly suppressing dissent.

              David, in the coming Muslim majority Europe, folks like me who can easily adjust to authoritarian regimes will survive, albeit as second tier non-Muslim subjects…. but, they have a special dislike for the liberal Davids of the world.
              You will do worse, and remember the warnings you ignored.
              Think about it


                1. crap. Marine Le Pen has shared the primary source, just charging documents


                  she “offended the dignity” of somebody, like, the ISIL murderers who don’t want the world to know their mischief

                  the world was a better place when Saddam and Assad had these nutjobs locked down hard, that’s the reality behind every single outrage coming from ISIL

            2. What didn’t Le Pen understand? She knew the government wouldn’t like her exercise of political speech. The government wants to be arbitrary but not sound that way. The simple solution for the government is to call Le Pen crazy and threaten her with incarceration and fines.

              In otherwords the government is trying to restrict polical freedoms and political speech. That should alarm anyone that is against fascism.

        2. I believe it’s time for you to schedule your next examination. Your reading comprehension is suspect. If you say no, you apparently would have no problems with it being ordered by the state.

          The order was issued by the district court in Nanterre on September 11th.
          Le Pen can be sentenced to up to three years in prison and $91,000 for her posting.

          I’m certain JT is familiar enough with French law to understand it is threatening free speech.

            1. any judge can order a competency evaluation of someone who is properly before the tribunal on a subject that requires them to understand the nature of the proceedings

              the question is why are they there in the first place

              she is not there because she has dementia and needs guardianship; she is not there because she committed any real crime.

              Real crime that is besides posting pictures that the French state does not like, which reflect the brutality of the ISIL rebels.

              David, face it, Marine is not crazy. She understands what this is all about.
              …..She is just brave.

        3. So far David you have provided nothing to indicate that you know squat about French law. You thrive on generalities many of which are absolutely wrong

            1. David, the real question revolves around the French restriction of their freedom of speech in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

    2. so oppression is routine there.
      and you presumptuously instruct the legal specialist in a topic for which he is famed.

            1. Yes, David we have a lot of famous but stupid people in the entertainment Field. In the case of Turley we have someone who is sort of famous but famous because he is intelligent and knowledgeable.

                1. The error you pointed out on this posting of Turley’s wasn’t his, it was your inability to understand the words you read.

    3. David, you’re giving BBC News more credit for fact-checking than they deserve. I edit wikipedia and there’s no way I’d lean on a citation from BBC News on a relatively specialized topic such as French legal procedures. They can’t even say French names correctly.

      1. Jean Lafitte, fine. Be so good as to provide us with a link to an account of the trial. In English, even if it is your own translation. I used to be able to read mathematics in French, but even that is no longer necessary. Perhaps unfortunately. In any case, the French newspapers didn’t communicate much to me.

  5. The problem with the Left is they get control thru specious means and then have no idea on how to actually control the power they obtain.

    1. The government in France is certainly not that of the left, such as there is of it anymore.

      So your comment is irrelevant.

      1. No actually my comment is relevent in the fact that you thought somehow it was necessary for you to apply your optics to my words. You constantly get your ass kicked so it must be you just trying to get a little dignity back by telling me my comment was irrelevant.
        LMAO beyond

  6. The same types you see in France, Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, and Canada exist here. There view is that the prejudices prevalent among certain professional-managerial types must not be questioned. The rest of us are peasants or clients. However, we have certain bits of political and legal culture and certain institutional features which put hurdles in front of them preventing anything this egregious. Now, there is a plan of attack against these social forces one can conceive of, though it is incomplete. Putting these bad people in their place and depriving them of influence is going to be ugly. Prof. Turley does not wish to acknowledge that it is his ‘colleagues’ who will have to receive a beatdown.

    1. it’s not just the managerial state it is those who own it that need a beatdown. they are just the hired hands. it’s the ones who write the paychecks. and i don’t mean the average tax payer, I mean the oligarch.

      who are they? a question worth asking at every strategic juncture. i do not answer, i only ask

  7. It’s more than an attack on free speech – it’s institutionalizing dissent. There are no criminals anymore – they are all mental patients.

            1. OLLY, I have been to mental health counseling on two occasions. I sometimes encourage certain students to do the same, free for them.

              I’m now wise enough to pay attention to my mental balance as well as my physical well-being. I’m old enough for annual physicals, so I do that along with visits to the optometrist.

              Mental condition is part of health. Visiting a clinical psychologist is no big deal.

              1. ‘Mental condition’ has nothing to do with ‘health’ unless you’re using ‘health’ in a metaphoric way. It’s just that psychiatrists and clinical psychologists (and social workers, ugh) want some of the third-party payer swag.

                1. this is not about mental health services this is about criminalizing dissent.

                  dont blame the docs blame the misbegotten french “republique”

              2. I doubt your examinations were ordered by the state; meaning it was an examination you took voluntarily. Did you encourage your students by getting the state to order them undergo a psychiatric evaluation? If not, then what Le Pen is experiencing is not only an evaluation.

              3. You sound as if your trips to the mental health counselor were to expand your view of the world outside of your head to put you in better balance. They don’t seem to have done a good job.

        1. I gather there is a question about her sanity.

          Tangentially related, locally there is actually a contested election for a Whitman County Superior Court position as the current judge is retiring. The candidate I intend to vote for wants the courts to have a Mental Health Officer. I think this is a very good idea.

      1. “Only” an examination? It’s harrassment and a warning to others to not express views that are at odds with whatever the French government wants expressed. The problem is that the French government has allowed the immigration of millions of emotional, violent people from Africa and the Middle East. As a result, France must clamp down on free expression, lest their Islamic residents go berserk over anything offends their touchy sensibilities. Demographics matter.

        1. Have you ever been to France? I have, more times than I can readily count.

          Helpful to actually know something before commenting.

              1. I’m TIN, and yes, I’ve been to France three times, and took two years of French in college. It’s really a tragedy to see how France has deteriorated, with the no-go zones and the govt repression of free speech in what was once considered a bastion of freedom.

                1. TIN, it seems a number of us have been in France many times and have completely different views than David.

                  On his trip to France David must have kept his window shade down on the tour bus.

          1. David, I’ve travelled all of Europe and other continents as well ending up in France numerous times at times driving throughout the entire nation. Let’s hear your observations over the years and tell us your view from the tour bus.

        2. TIN, the French never had all the freedoms we have but based on birthrates, immigration and a compromising government willing to compromise away their own culture I don’t believe France will exist the way we knew it in the not too distant future..

      2. I highly value psychiatry as a profession.
        hat said such exams are not properly ordered by the state to suppress free expression.

        the thought-bureaucrats in France deserve their own appointment,

        … with Mme. La Guillotine!


      3. David, the logic you are providing is logic we expect from a young person without a fully formed brain or an education. Even the Stalinists in this country know why and what is being done even if they don’t say so. You don’t seem to have a clue which is shocking unless of course you like playing dumb.

          1. Learn your history David and don’t just rely on predigested information meant to tell you what someone else wants you to hear.

          2. David Benson is the King of Making Stuff Up and owes me nine citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after sixteen weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – do you not know how to cite on WordPress? Is that your major disfunction?

  8. There was a point after WW2 that it seemed countries were democratizing and providing the individual with more personal freedoms including the freedom of speech. It appears things are moving in the opposite direction today all over the world while one segment of our society seems to approve of governments choosing what ideas should be promoted based on ideology. I think of all those soldiers that died protecting our country, way of life and feedom of speech only to see Americans on the left trampling on their graves and while stamping on the American flag.

  9. FALQs: Freedom of Speech in France
    Andrew Weber
    2015 Mar 27
    Library of Congress

    Jonathan Turley should have at least read this readily available article before writing this piece.

    1. David, what in that piece would have changed Turley’s statement?

      France has different laws and a lower standard for free speech than the US. That is known by most that are involved in such discussions. I must have missed something because I find no merit in your statement.

      1. Possibly more directly pointing to recent changes in the French legal code, together with a scholarly analysis of what is wrong, in his opinion. As it is, the piece is a shallow shotgun blast.

        Obviously, in my opinion. That is all there is on this blog.

        1. I can’t see where this leads to a criticism of Turley’s posting. Admittedly it wasn’t complete rather touched incompletely on a specific item. What was it precisely that made you make your statement? It almost seems as if your referral to Weber was gratuitous.

          Tell us exactly what was “a shallow shotgun blast.” or did you miss the point behind the posting?

          1. Turley appears to fail to comprehend the history and reasons for the speech restrictions in France, Britain, etc. There is no nuance to his condemnations of everything which isn’t unbridled “free speech”. I’m surprised that he approves of libel laws…

            1. David, what you have just said without any specifics is nonsense. They have different laws but they used to be equally applied. When equality under the law goes by the wayside that is sign that individual liberties will soon follow. You talk about nuance but I wonder what ever could you know about nuance when your reply represents no understanding of those nations laws or history.

  10. Whilst France restricts conservative speech, it will not restrict far left liberal extreme speech or extreme Islamic (conservative) speech. The Soviets and the Chinese on the other hand restrict liberal speech which they see as a greater danger. They do not want liberal ideas to flourish as it is now in France where conservative speech is deemed wrong.

            1. David, You have to stop looking at parties and start looking at actions. What Le Pen did was exercise her ***political*** free speech that was a true account. What the government did, no matter what type of government it is called, was to utililize Stalinist techniques to silence their political enemies.

              What you did is what we worry about with children with potential learning disorders. They can read the words much like you did from Wikipedia, but the more important item is whether they understand them. You seem to lack the latter.

          1. No, Le Pen is an opponent of immigration and an opponent of Brussels, which the media call ‘fascist’ as a way of attempting to take the issue out of political discussion. The same games are played by mediascum here.

            You never know what you’re talking about, but everyone else is Making Stuff Up.

          2. Fascist, just your mouth says so. A meaningless term.

            What she is, a true leader of the French people in a time when they lack it.

            What’s really needed is another Charles the Hammer

          3. Oftentimes, I wonder, does the French state serve an international capitalist oligarchy, rather than the people? Or maybe it just serves….. some of the people

            The French people not the non-French is who Le Pen represents. The difference is plain to see.

            If the state were to serve the French people, that is why you imply is fascism

            Whatever the name, the French have a right to sovereignty and self determination.

            That’s what you call fascism. but I wonder, are you an unpaid steppinfetchit for the international capitalist oligarchy?

            Or do Soros’ minions solicit your unconvincing penmanship via poor donation offerings on Craigslist?


            Maybe you are a fool who apologizes for this for free, sad! But Geo Soros 12 billions $ will only go so far without a lot of mental-slave dogooders to spread the memes for free

            1. Well, everywhere in the USA that I know about, if a defendant does not appear to be mentally competent to stand trial the judge orders a mental evaluation from a trained mental health professional.

              Orders. That’s authoritarian I guess.

              1. I noticed you conveniently skipped past the reason they are a defendant. How many twitter users (in this country) have been arrested based on the content of their tweet and ordered to take a psychiatric evaluation?

              2. David, you are approving of the use of fascist, authoritative and Stalinist techniques. Psychiatric claims against enemies or people that disagreed were big in Stalin’s time. You apparently have no understanding of what free speech or equality under the law are. Our soldiers fought against that type of oppression and died while you spit on their graves.

              3. Le Pen didn’t break a law that was being equally applied. He frustrated the political aspirations of those in power. The government is using psychiatric detention as a weapon against its citizens because a citizen disagrees appropriately under the law.

                A defendant in the US need not accept psychiatric care unless he is directly harming himself or doesn’t understand what he is accused of. He can be crazy and if no one is being hurt he isn’t incarcerated or forced to have treatment. If a crazy person doesn’t break the law or impose a threat to himself or others he isn’t forcibly detained for psychiatric reasons.

    1. If they arrested a Mullah for some outrageous talk at a mosque, then there would be riots and les banlieus set aflame

      but the French people MLP represents will just be nice and peaceful and complain just as we do, following the letter of the law as our adversaries violate it with impunity

      that’s why the liberal states are unable to prevent further slides into decay and degeneracy, a general passivity in the face of too many unruly invaders that should have been properly arrested long ago

      well, it won’t last forever, eventually it will come to a head and then be resolved the ancient ways

  11. On another important legal note, Fan Bingbing has been found and will be released from prison when they figure out how much she owes in back taxes and she pays it.

    1. ha that means she has to negotiate her ransom with the corrupt police, and the Chicom has green lighted the locals shaking down celebrities. An efficient reminder to the people of who is in charge there. More effective than Tienanmen square

  12. Welcome to France, China, The Soviet Union and the UK. The UK did it to Tony Robison, France is doing it to Le Pen.

      1. I fear that you are just Making Stuff Up.

        Prove it. And while you’re at it, if you truly have this making stuff up standard, why haven’t you leveled that same charge against Christine Blasey Ford?

        1. What is the standard of proof?

          — That is a difficult question.

          Comments about Dr . Ford belong on a different thread. This one is supposed to be about France.

      2. David, what are you talking about. You make yourself sound foolish with statements of this nature where it is obvious you understand very little about the subject matter.

  13. France has learned from the Soviets; as has the Democratic party in the their adoption of Kafkaesque trial techniques.

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